Sony Alpha A100; The show must go on

Sony Alpha DSLR A100

After the first leaked informations, most of the serious web sites around are presenting today the news of the day: Sony Alpha A100 becomes the first photo camera to enter the field of digital single lens reflex (D-SLR or DLSR) for Sony after the demise of Konica-Minolta a few months ago.

To know it all…

New features

As previously seen photographs, this is a camera very similar to the previous Dynax/Maxxum 5D. But its very significant evolutions allow Sony to start thinking about not only grabbing the patient Minolta owners (body and lenses), but also new customers, too. Let’s see what hit me first in this good prosumer digital camera:

  • A 10.2 Mega-pixel APS-C CCD sensor! This is shocking news for the competition, knowing that the body will sell at 900900$ (probably 900€), a price point that competition is not reaching with Nikon D200 for example.
  • Lenses announced by Sony (no less than 19) should offer a full range for the prosumer and the addicted photo lover. Most are coming from the Konica-Minolta catalog, but Carl Zeiss is also called in for new designs: A new 16-80 mm Vario-Sonnar T* zoom, two fixed focal length Planar T* 85 mm and Sonnar T* 135 mm.
  • Image stabilization will use an actuated mobile sensor (even if the name changes to Super Steady Shot, this is probably 99% Konica-Minolta technology).
  • Sensor mobility is also used to force clean the CCD by vibrating it upon power up. Copying Olympus, but intelligently.

Some features are less clear and should be seen in action:

  • The new Bionz image manipulation/optimization is not well known yet. Sony has the epxerience to avoid being worried, but they include many new features that may err far from hig quality (management of luminosity and colour could be a great bonus or a complete crap depending on the actual implementation).

Some other features are completely unsurprising (knowing the context):

  • 100-1600 ISO
  • 2.5″ LCD screen, with histogram display.
  • JPEG and RAW image formats.
  • CompactFlash I/II & Microdrive cards
  • MemoryStick Pro and Pro Duo (with adapter)
  • Pentaprism viewfinder, but with characteristics near a Dynax 5D (I would have prefered the much better 7D).
  • Minolta-compatible flash system.
  • 3 images/seconde (unlimited in JPEG, 6 images max in RAW)

Finally, priced around 1000$ with a 18-70mm zoom , the camera will be available as soon as July in the USA. Pre-orders immediately accepted.

Previews on the main photo reference web sites